I feel like I’m the wrong person to be reviewing this release. Sure, I’m a big DC nut and I really enjoy the majority of their comics, cartoons, movies, and television shows. However, I never caught on to Superfriends, finding whatever episodes I caught on TV too bland and uninteresting. I understand the Superfriends shows have a lot of fans, and some of the animation greats have worked on these shows, but this show just isn’t meant for me. While I caught the odd episode on television, this is my first real chance to watch the series, and I wasn’t too impressed. However, despite all of that, I do understand their attraction. These are sort of fun to watch, but I have to admit it was difficult sitting through this entire DVD collection. The episodes felt repetitive and boring, predictable and hammy. There was a slight charm while watching them, but not enough to find them actually enjoyable. Let’s just move onto the synopsis, shall we?
When sinister forces like Darkseid, Lex Luther, Brainiac and Mr. Mxyzptlk scheme to dominate the galaxy, it’s up to the Super Friends to show them the light! Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Superman and new hero Firestorm risk it all to defeat evil and preserve peace throughout the cosmos. Featuring the voices of Adam West as Batman and Casey Kasem as Robin, this sensational TV series produced by Hanna-Barbera showcases favorite DC Comics heroes in adventures that meld galactic dangers, insidious villains and larger-than-life predicaments in a must-own two-disc collector’s compilation!
I was born after all of the era of the Superfriends, instead having Batman: The Animated Series as my childhood addiction. However, I do remember having a few VHS compilations of the odd Superfriends and Filmation DC cartoon as a child, but I knew early on this show wasn’t for me. Sure it was bright, cheery, and thankfully short, it just didn’t like it. It was too bland, too sugar-coated, and just too vanilla. So, personally, watching a show like Superfriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show doesn’t have any nostalgic value to me. It’s just an old cartoon with some pretty horrible animation. And Batman was a totally useless without his utility belt in these cartoons. And why was Darkseid obsessed with Wonder Woman? Revisiting the show now, it was pretty much exactly how I remembered it. It made no sense, and thankfully I wasn’t that heavy into comics yet and had yet realized how angry this would have made me. I was hoping for more when I opened the package and put in the discs, but I was sadly letdown.
Regardless of which, I do understand the appeal. Those who grew up in this era had these cartoons, along with the likes of Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends, got to see their heroes on television. Much like how I had Batman: The Animated Series in my youth, some had Superfriends (and today, some have The Batman and Legion of Super-Heroes). Their favorite heroes were on Saturday morning and it looked as though they were leaping off the comic page. Sure, the stories were simple and often ludicrous, but they were fun, and they sparked the imagination. And for that, those fans will absolutely adore and cherish these toons, and they should. It’s a part of their life, their history, conveniently packaged in a two-disc DVD set. For me, however, I don’t share those memories of this show. Superfriends doesn’t appeal to me and, sadly, this DVD set didn’t either. Some episodes had their charm, I will admit, but that’s not enough to redeem the entire set.
And, for those who liked the series, you should find the extras enjoyable. The DVD features a couple nice featurettes and some commentaries. The featurettes are actually pretty interesting, the first of which examines the roots of the characters, including the ethnic backgrounds of some. The other featurette looks at the toy craze which inspired a number of 80’s cartoons, revealing how this impacted the creation and marketing of Super Friends. Finally, we have commentaries on a handful of episodes. Overall it’s a nice batch of extras that fans will surely enjoy.
For fans of this incarnation of DC’s famed heroes, this purchase is a no-brainer. However, for those who have never watched this series, I’d recommend a Rental before opting whether or not to purchase this series. It’s hard to say whether this show will appeal to fans of the modern DC cartoons and comics. The extras are well-done for a release such as this, and the episodes themselves are presented in all their full-frame glory. The quality of the audio and video is likely better than anything you’ll find out there. Superfriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show is a show that doesn’t appeal to me, but it does have it’s fans. I can’t be counted as a fan, yet, but that could always change as more incarnations of Superfriends hits the DVD format. And, like I said, said fans should run out and pick up this release. It’s a solid collection of the entire series and it has a nice batch of extras to go with it.
Superfriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show is now available on DVD.